Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
1 Cor. 10:31-11:1
Just yesterday I entered the room of a patient wearing a canary yellow gown, latex free gloves, and a mask over my nose and mouth looking much like a duck’s bill. Prior to being invited into the room, I knocked on the door. The patient and her family had no idea who was knocking and when I entered I looked much like every other hospital staff person covered up.
I teased her about all of the special things I had to put on in order to visit with her, was she perhaps from royalty? Inside I couldn’t help but think about what it must be like for her and other patients whose door list special precautions for people to attend to before entering the room. I think that I would feel very isolated. However, the simple humor seemed to bridge that awkward entrance and beginning of the conversation.
In the first reading from Leviticus and the gospel reading from Mark on Sunday February 15th placed before me are very different texts both focused on how to encounter one who is a leper. The first text states that one who is leprous should be marked and declared and must live separate from those who are clean/pure.
In the gospel reading of Mark, Jesus does not seek out one with a leprous condition nor does he walk away when the leper ask Jesus to make him clean. Instead he says, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
I am struck with the number of things in our lives that can make us a modern leper. For example: being an overweight person, having a pronounced stutter, being gay or lesbian, having facial scars from bad acne, being a conservative thinker among liberals or visa-versa, living with a mental illness. All of the above conditions and situations, according to the first reading, have the potential to have one group or another shout out to the other “unclean.”
I must admit that I have groups or types of people whom I encounter who push me to my limits by my “attitudes and judgments” encountering their “attitudes and judgments.” In the gospel reading this week, I will seek to take off my mask, my special clothing and my gloves (seen and unseen) to find new ways of encountering the one who challenges me to be healed of my leprous conditions…with the grace of God.